In an ideal world everyone would get along. However, society is made up of many different personalities, which can cause clashes. Never has this been truer than in a working environment. When you think about it, we can spend upwards of 8-hours a day with colleagues, which is often more time than we spend with our loved ones. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that conflicts can happen. Quite often it can be a dispute that occurred between staff members outside of work, but their differences spills over into the workplace.
When members of a team don’t get along, this can be really hard to manage, which in turn can create a poor, unhealthy atmosphere. The knock-on effect is that people’s mental health can suffer and the employer can be left liable if they don’t deal with it early enough.
In order to keep the peace between employees, you’ll want to successfully navigate any bumps in the road and be proactive about managing conflict. In order to effectively do so, you’ll need to be aware of what to look out for. Furthermore, a clearly outlined procedure for reporting issues is vital.
So how exactly do you keep the peace between employees? Here’s everything you need to know…
The tell-tale signs of conflict in the workplace
While this will differ between workplaces, here are the common signs to watch out for:
An argument: Probably the easiest one to spot, a heated exchange between employees may mean that tensions are rising. This can be awkward for other team members and should be dealt with as soon as possible.
Placing the blame: If you notice that an employee frequently blames another for work not being completed correctly or on time, this can be an indicator of a conflict bubbling beneath the surface.
Increased levels of absence: If conflict is occurring and an employee can’t see a way to resolve it, this can lead to stress, which in turn, may mean a spike in the number of days taken off work.
A change in atmosphere: The thing about conflict is that it can have a knock-on affect. If you notice a sudden change in staff morale overall, it may be the case that conflict between one or more staff members is at play.
Top tips for effectively resolving conflict between employees
Being efficient is key in preventing conflicts from further impacting your workforce. Julie Pollock From Consult HR shares her Top tips on how to tackle tension between employees:
Prevention is better than the cure: While there’s no guarantee that all employees will get on, trying to create a positive working environment is a good approach to take. For example, regular team building days are a good way to bring staff together, helping to prevent conflict in the long-run.
Carry out one-to-one meetings: It is important that employees feel that the channels of communication are open. Those involved should feel that they can approach a manager and bring the issue to their attention. This gives them an opportunity to talk in private and share their side of the issue.
Get involved early: In my experience, reacting when the signs are there at an early stage is crucial. Speak to those staff members involved and if appropriate, try to resolve their differences in an impartial way without taking sides, encourage them to put their differences behind them and move on.
Ignoring the signs and hoping that it will resolve itself without your involvement is only allowing a toxic environment to explode in your workplace, which will decimate a team.
Investigate the dispute: If you establish from discussions with the staff that there is something a bit more serious involving inappropriate actions of employee(s), you should consider investigating the issue fully. Speak to all parties concerned to get their side of the story to establish the facts and determine if potential disciplinary action should be considered.
Have a policy in place: The purpose of company policies are to protect both your business and your employees. Therefore, your company handbook and/or Policies should outline the procedure that staff members should follow in order to try and resolve conflict.
Get expert advice: The best piece of advice we can offer is not to sweep conflict under the rug. Leaving issues unresolved has the potential to spread, impact employees’ health and, in the worst-case scenario, lead to tribunals. If you are worried about conflict in the workplace, get in contact with Consult HR and we can discuss a plan to move forward in the best possible way.
For more information, contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.